Straight TalkA weekly update from management on the issues that matter most. Feb 9, 2017 Respiratory therapy is a life-saving service that is not well understood by patients, families or even other medical colleagues. Consider anxiety and stress caused by breathing problems, followed by comfort and rescue from a Respiratory Therapist (RT)—then you will appreciate these highly trained, competent, and compassionate professionals. I asked two enthusiastic and engaging representatives of our over-100 full and part-time RTs, Nikki Audia and Tishia Reisinger, what is best about being a Respiratory Therapist. Their top-of-mind comments were: Whenever a “Code Blue” is called because a patient has stopped breathing, you will find an RT at the head of the bed assisting with life-saving airway and lung management. Other respiratory colleagues will also quickly respond to lend a helping hand. Participating in care from the inception of a hospitalization to going home is so satisfying. Not many can actually say they participate daily in keeping a person alive by assisting with a very fundamental bodily function—breathing. Saving lives every day is very rewarding. Being involved on different units ranging from acute trauma in the ER to therapy in an ICU to management on a floor, all with breathing treatments for patients encompassing neonatology, pediatrics, geriatrics and all in between who have respiratory problems. Speaking with patients as they recover, and hearing the patient and family say they thought they were going to die, and now they are on the road to recovery, planning to go home soon. Team-mates who always help each other. During the busy winter season about eight RTs cover the Baker Campus downtown with about six at night. North Naples has five during the day and four at night. Both teams are always available to everyone—patients, families, fellow clinicians, physicians, and anyone else they can help. Describing themselves as “action junkies,” RTs like the excitement of emergent acute care. However, RTs are also thoughtful clinicians who take direction from a prescribing physician while providing consultation using a metric point system to direct the patient’s care. Quite often after consultation with the attending physician, a plan is developed that is targeted for the patient’s needs and more efficient often times using less medication. The Respiratory Therapy consult program has been integrated into care plans since 2001 to better treat patients with lung problems. The goal of the program is to get the right treatment at the right time to the right patient without over or under treating. Sending patients home with an optimal outcome and understanding their plan is the goal for the approximately 12,300 people cared for yearly by RTs at NCH. Our RTs are respected members of our medical community as noted by longtime senior ICU RN Barb Garner who shared, “They are the best.” I agree completely—our RTs are perfect examples of our great teams.